Shakespeare on the beach returns to Margate with Henry V

Shakespeare on the beach

Changeling theatre and Phoenix Community Events return to Margate main sands this summer with Shakespeare’s enduring history play – Henry V – on Sunday 14 July at 5pm.

Changeling Theatre is staging Henry V across Kent for its annual outdoor tour in 2024. Shakespeare’s history play about the rise of King Henry V is arguably his most famous and popular ‘war play’.

Photo Susan Pilcher

Phoenix Community Events, a CIC established by the former staff of the Theatre Royal Margate, is hosting the show. The tradition of presenting Shakespeare’s plays on Margate beach began in 2013 and since then has missed just one year due to Covid,

This year there will be a Twilight Matinee starting at 5pm, leaving plenty of time for the football fans in the audience to dash home and watch the Final of the European Championships which kicks off at 8pm.

Henry V centres around a young superstar King who has ascended the English throne. When his advisors tell him the French throne is rightfully his too, Henry falls for their persuasion. An insult from the Dauphin – heir to the French throne – is enough to trigger Henry, who gathers a mighty fleet and invades France.

Photo Susan Pilcher

After defeating the French at Harfleur and Agincourt, the young King makes the old King of France swear to hand the throne to him on his death, making him King of both countries. To seal the deal he marries the old King’s daughter, Princess Katherine.

Based on the events of the Hundred Years’ War, Henry V is much more than a historical documentary. It is a play about the merits of war, set against the moral and personal cost of conflict. It is not without comedy though, and in typical Shakespeare style, the leading characters are ruthlessly mocked by the underclass throughout.

Directed by Rob Forknall and with the same creative team from last year’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, this production will take its design cues from the game of chess and promises to be full of action and intrigue.

2024 marks Changeling’s 23rd year of outdoor touring since the company first toured Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2001.This summer the company will be touring Henry V alongside Noël Coward’s satirical masterpiece about the cult of celebrity Present Laughter.

Changeling’s creative director Rob Forknall said: “Henry V is no doubt Shakespeare’s most famous ‘war play’. It’s popular with audiences not only because it charts the rise of a young King, but because it represents war in so many ways, testing our inherent beliefs about the true ‘value’ of war.

“Our production will play on the idea of the game of war – a chess game. Our set will be a chessboard, our actors, pawns. It promises to be entertaining, challenging and with some Changeling humour thrown in for good measure.”


Adults: £21.50

Under 16s: £13.50

Plus booking fees

Suitable for all ages

Doors Open at 4.30pm, starts at 5pm

Margate Main Sands (Below the clock tower)

Book online:


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